Objectives: The basis for the associations among anger, hostility, aggressive behavior, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) remains unclear. We suggest classifying aggressive behavior may elucidate the associations among these factors. On the basis of diagnostic and neurobiological similarities between impulsive aggression (IA) and PTSD, we proposed that IA was the predominant form of aggression in PTSD and that anger and hostility would not significantly predict PTSD when IA was also included as a predictor.
Methods: We used cross-sectional self-report data obtained from two samples of male veterans (N = 136).
Results: Over 70% of veterans with PTSD reported IA compared to 29% of those without PTSD. IA, not anger, hostility, or premeditated aggression significantly predicted a diagnosis of PTSD.
Conclusions: Associations between anger and PTSD may be unique to individuals with IA, and considering impulsive and premeditated aggressors separately may account for the heterogeneity found within samples of aggressive veterans with PTSD.